The overall goal of the APEnet project is to gather the existing digital archival content of Europe and make it available on-line. The aim is to build a network of European archives that can offer online access (a) to finding aids covering millions of digitised and not yet digitized documents, (b) to the individual documents and digital objects through these finding aids, and (c) information about individual collections, the institutions that house them, and their creators.
Archival materials are not exclusively in the custody of public archival institutions. In Europe, other institutions, like libraries and museums, house archival material, as is the case in the National Libraries of Spain and Malta or the British Library. Thus, Archives Portal Europe aims to facilitate the access to documents and records also in a variety of cultural heritage institutions, whether they are public or private.
The main objectives of the APEnet project are:
- to develop an Internet Gateway that can provide descriptions of archival materials in European archives, libraries and museums. based on information on the archives creators – corporate bodies, persons and families – with basic data on their records and collections,
- to develop a set of converting engines and plug-ins to be integrated in national and institutional archives portals and systems to facilitate their contribution to Archives Portal Europe and in the end to Europeana,
- to support and encourage archival repositories to contribute descriptions of their respective holdings to the Archives Portal Europe and Europeana.
The development of Archives Portal Europe will be based on a careful study of other European framework programmes, such as EUAN, LEAF, EDLnet, TEL, QVIZ and MICHAEL, as well as other international models such as the UNESCO or the ICA archives portals.